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UM content with Pepsi-based health care?

Amid all the self-congratulation at the University of Maryland over a corporate financed modest boost in mental health services for students, I'd like to demur ("UM adds funding for mental health," April 3).

In the article, we're told how happy everyone is that Pepsico, which "holds lucrative vending contracts with the university," is giving $500,000 a year for 10 years to allow hiring three new psychologists and 1.5 campus health center jobs to deal with a 23 percent increase in requests for help over the last few years and a tragic recent off-campus fatal shooting. What percentage of Pepsico's profits does that represent?

I think it's pitiful — and telling — that such a huge, now elite university with dozens of highly paid administrators thinks so little of mental health care for its carefully selected students that rather than budgeting funds to improve services, it goes begging for donations to a corporation trying to sell high-sugar drinks on campus. And the students applaud this? Things have sure changed since I was a student at College Park in the mid-1960's.

I imagine that eliminating the jobs of two or perhaps even one CEO-level administrator would have provided the same sop to students clamoring for help.

Larry Carson, Columbia

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